Stephen Foley: The best prescription for pharma firms
Saturday 12 June 2010
US Outlook: It was a legal battering in the US over the depression medicine Paxil that bounced GlaxoSmithKline into setting up an online register of all its clinical trial data, regardless of whether it had pushed to have the results of a study published in a medical journal. The company had been accused of burying studies which showed the medicine was less effective or more dangerous.
The drug industry has come a long way in the six years since then, but not far enough, which was why a couple of announcements this week are welcome, if insufficient, steps towards greater transparency. On Thursday, the industry's international trade body agreed a code of practice that commits companies to publishing all late-stage clinical trials, rather than cherry-picking. And yesterday, major drug companies signed up to share some of the data from trials of experimental Alzheimer's disease treatments, so that their scientists would find it quicker and easier to judge which treatments are working.
Both developments are welcome but incomplete. The international agreement could cover all trials, not just the big Phase III studies. The Alzheimer's collaboration needn't be limited just to data on patients using placebo. Its organisers promise similar agreements on Parkinson's disease work, but it could be extended across most disease areas.
The moral case for greater transparency and co-operation is unassailable: it prevents mischief and speeds up the development of vital new medicines. The business case is also strong and getting stronger: the fact that pharma companies are all duplicating the same basic research is a waste of resources for an industry suffering relentless pressure on costs.
- 1 Scientists create transparent mouse complete with see-through organs
- 2 Pope Francis issues top 10 tips for happiness
- 3 Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
- 4 Israel's propaganda machine is finally starting to misfire
- 5 Amazonian Indian tribe filmed making contact with Brazil village in rare video footage
Land for gas: Merkel and Putin discussed secret deal could end Ukraine crisis
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
Richard Dawkins tweets: 'Date rape is bad, stranger rape is worse'
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – Britain as others see us
A new Russian revolution: The cracks are starting to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
£300 - £350 per day: Orgtel: Financial Analyst, Forecasting, Halifax, Banking,...
£500 per day: Orgtel: Business Architect - Banking - Bristol - £500 per day A...
£200 - £500 per day + competitive: Orgtel: I am currently working on a large p...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...